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Leaching assessment of cemented bauxite tailings through wetting and drying cycles of durability test

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Disposal of mine tailings can cause negative environmental effects by releasing contaminants to surface and underground water. Alkali activation is a promising technique for immobilizing metals in stabilization/solidification of these wastes. This study evaluates the leaching behavior of cemented bauxite tailings (BT) submitted to weathering conditions. The alkali-activated binder was composed of sugar cane bagasse ash, carbide lime, and sodium hydroxide solution. Comparisons of the durability and leaching behavior of BT stabilized with alkali-activated binder and high initial strength Portland cement were performed. The durability results for alkali-activated were similar to the Portland cement, showing an average difference of 16%. Portland cement showed favorable results in the encapsulation of heavy metals like Cd and Hg, while the alkali-activated cement on Al, Cr, and Se. For Ba, Fe, Mn, and Zn immobilization, both types of cement presented an equal performance. The durability and leaching behavior of stabilized bauxite tailings is governed by the cement content and porosity of the blends, as well as their pH.

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The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors wish to explicit their appreciation of FAPERGS/CNPq 12/2014 – PRONEX (Project #16/2551-0000469-2), MCT-CNPq (Editais INCT-REAGEO, Universal & Produtividade em Pesquisa), FINEP, PRO-ICT UFFS (Project 2020-0458), and MEC-CAPES (PROEX) for the support to the research group.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by Giovani Jordi Bruschi, Carolina Pereira dos Santos, William Mateus Kubiaki Levandoski, and Suéllen Tonatto Ferrazzo. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Giovani Jordi Bruschi, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. In addition, Eduardo Pavan Korf, Rodrigo Beck Saldanha, and Nilo Cesar Consoli were also responsible for the supervision.

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Correspondence to Giovani Jordi Bruschi.

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Bruschi, G.J., dos Santos, C.P., Levandoski, W.M.K. et al. Leaching assessment of cemented bauxite tailings through wetting and drying cycles of durability test. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 59247–59262 (2022).

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